Werribee survived a late scare in Saturday’s practice match against Coburg, holding on for a three-point win in blustery conditions at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn.
Coming off an impressive 78-point victory over Sandringham, and with 15 North Melbourne-listed players among their starting 22, the Tigers got away strongly to open up a 31-point half-time lead before the Lions clawed their way back into the match and almost managed to steal a win through a flurry of last-quarter goals.
With the benefit of the breeze in the first term, Werribee looked impressive early, Cam Zurhaar getting his side off to a flyer with the opening two goals of the game to set up an 18-point quarter-time lead.
The Tigers only looked more dangerous kicking into the wind in the second term, and with the margin having stretched beyond five goals at half time, it appeared the floodgates were about to open.
But Coburg responded strongly after the main break, holding Werribee to a single goal while adding three of their own to cut the margin to 27 points at the final change.
With the wind behind them, the Lions then utilised their pace and quick ball movement to open up the Tigers defence, piling on six goals to two in the final term before a desperate Aaron Mullett tackle in the dying moments foiled their final roll of the dice.
While disappointed with the second-half fadeout, coach John Lamont was pleased with his side’s early intent and was particularly impressed with the performances of new recruits Max Augerinos and Nick Buykx, who both finished among Werribee’s best.
Lamont also acknowledged Coburg’s efforts to win the contested ball and get themselves back in the game through the second half.
“Credit to Coburg – at half time, they lifted their rating around the stoppages and exerted a bit of control there,” Lamont said.
Nick Larkey was the Tigers’ biggest contributor on the scoreboard, his three-goal haul including a beautiful snap from the pocket on the stroke of three-quarter time that provided one of the day’s major highlights and ultimately proved crucial in getting the Tigers over the line.
Earlier in the day, Werribee’s development side went down to Coburg by 15 points, the Lions proving too strong in the final term after a tight tussle for three quarters.
The senior team will now look towards their final practice match against the Casey Demons at Casey Fields on Saturday, April 8, while the development side will square off against AFL Barwon club Lara at the Lara Recreation Reserve on Thursday night.
Coburg: 1.1 3.3 6.5 12.7 (79)
Werribee: 4.1 8.4 10.8 12.10 (82)
Werribee: Nick Larkey 3, Kyle Galloway 2, Jordan Jones, Ben McKay, Matthew Munro, Corey Wagner, Nick Meredith, Ryley Barrack, Cam Zurhaar
Werribee: Jason Robinson, Matthew Munro, Max Augerinos, Tom Ellard, Ryley Barrack, Cam Zurhaar, Declan Watson, Josh Williams, Matthew Taylor, Nick Buykx
Coburg: 3.4 5.6 7.10 10.13 (73)
Werribee: 3.0 5.3 7.3 9.4 (58)
Jackson Menadue 2, Brandon Houlihan 2, Tom Gribble, Harry Boyd, Jade Cleeland, Tito Nyawela, Billy Iles